“Fairuza!” (“Turquoise” in Farsi), her father exclaimed as he saw her blue eyes: Fairuza Alejandra Balk had just been born on May 21, 1974 in Point Reyes, California. Her father, Solomon Feldthouse, was a traveling musician originally from Idaho, and her mother, Cathryn Balk, was a belly dancer. Her parents split up soon after. Fairuza grew up just north of San Francisco, California on a commune-type ranch. Her mother later found work in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It was there that Fairuza began her career at age 9 on the ABC special The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (1983). Two years later, she went to the United Kingdom where she attended the Royal Academy of Ballet, the Ramona Beauchamp Agency, and the Bush Davies Performing Arts School. Fairuza worked for the Walt Disney Company for a while; at 11, she was chosen from 1,200 girls to star as Dorothy in Return to Oz (1985). The next year she starred, prophetically enough, as The Worst Witch (1986) a harbinger of her breakout role in The Craft (1996) 10 years later.
Fairuza and her mother remained in London until 1988, then went to Paris where the 15-year-old starred in Valmont (1989). The next year they returned to Vancouver and Fairuza enrolled in high school, but ended up doing correspondence courses after proving shy in class. Back in Hollywood she starred in a string of movies, including Gas Food Lodging (1992), for which she received an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress. Following further television and film work, she achieved cult status with her starring role as a teenage witch in her breakout film, The Craft (1996). That year she also appeared in The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996), in which she did some belly-dancing and attracted the attention of Lancashire, England-born co-star David Thewlis. They did another movie together, American Perfekt (1997).
Fairuza was also the love interest in the wildly-popular The Waterboy (1998) and had a major role in American History X (1998). With a half-dozen movies for 2000, Fairuza is much in demand. Her interests are writing poetry and stories, playing the guitar, singing (her main enjoyment), and dancing. She lives in Venice, California and has an apartment in New York City.
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